Fats Domino sang, “I found my thrill on blueberry hill …”, but Bessie Smith in her song Backwater Blues “went out to the lonesome, high old lonesome hill”. When Richard Goddard found out what was going on at Lonesome Hill, he was blue vexed and definitely not thrilled!

Mr. Goddard stated his concerns in this letter, which I have quoted below.

Blood, Grease and Water

“There is a blood and grease liquid disposal site operated by government at Lonesome Hill. This is put into unlined trenches dug into the soil which goes into the underground, or washes into the ravine, going through Sailor Gully, The Whim gully, and then into the Salt Pond in Speightstown and into the sea, especially after heavy rain.”

http://earth.google.com/

Below: Blood and Grease Disposal Facility, Lonesome Hill, St. Peter

Grease and blood dumping area

Below: The Blood and Grease facility is on the right below, labelled “Blood”. This source (Introduction, page 5) claims that animal FOG (fats, oil and grease) can get into ground water. If this contaminates the surrounding water, that contaminated water would follow the gullies to the sea. The water course is shown by my red lines. Port St. Charles and Almond Beach residents might be concerned as the prevailing current on that coast is in a Northerly direction, although it can go South! It is possible that these animal byproducts are completely broken down by bacteria, and that there is no threat of either bacterial or viral contamination. Even if there is no health threat posed, the very thought of the presence of minute quantities of byproducts from say pigs may be intolerable to some.

possible grease flow to sea

Another quote from the letter: “Geologists Bob Speed and Hans Machel, who are considered the authorities on the environment of Barbados have both said this is environmental madness.”

Where Does Your Drinking Water Come From?

Let me preface this next statement by establishing that I am not saying that the drinking water is unsafe. There is a Barbados Water Authority (BWA) Pumping Station next to the Whim Gully. Due to the proximity of my red line and the porosity of the limestone, it is possible that contaminated water will reach the pumping station. Hopefully, this water is then treated, so it may be fine to drink. Time will tell.

Drinking water treated - Sea water not

If contaminated water reaches the coast it will affect the water on the West Coast beaches. While, the pollution may not be visible and may not deter swimmers, it may be bad for the coral. In fact healthy coral is a good indicator of good water quality. Is the coral in your area alive and healthy?

Reefs at Risk In the Caribbean states that in Barbados:
“The analysis showed 60 percent of the reefs to be threatened by sedimentation. Eutrophication from agricultural fertilizers and sewage is one of the biggest problems.” It is noteworthy that blood and grease are not mentioned as a major problem.

What should we do?

This is an area of which I know very little, however commonsense dictates that sampling and testing should be done on:

  1. the water in the gullies
  2. the water at the BWA Pumping station (on a regular basis)
  3. the coastal water, including both the beach and reef areas

Testing must be accompanied by publication of the test results. If it is established that rancid grease and blood is a problem for the environment, then an incinerator could be used to burn the grease. The blood could be treated.